Avoiding Bedbugs in Greece

Are bedbugs a problem in Greece?

Santorini, Greece at sunset
 Harshil Shah/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Bedbugs are the last thing the average traveler to Greece wants to think about - but right now, bedbugs are definitely all over the media even if they are not all over beds. Personally, I'm pleased to report that I have never encountered a bedbug in Greece, and I've stayed in many different hotels of greatly varying quality and amenities. I've spent my fair share of time dealing with mosquitoes in some regions of Greece, but so far, my Greek travels have been bedbug-free. Is that coming to an end? Are bedbugs invading Greece - or about to?

Are There Bedbugs in Greece?

As a sturdy bug who also likes to travel, bedbugs are almost everywhere in the world. They definitely exist in Greece and were documented in ancient times by Pliny and Aristotle.

Are Bedbugs a Problem in Greek Hotels?

There are scattered reports of bedbugs in Greek hotels, but it is far from an "epidemic". The odds are excellent that your trip to Greece will be entirely bedbug free.

Where Bedbugs Live

Bedbugs hide under mattresses and around and under beds. Since we often plop our luggage on the bed or on the floor, bedbugs can find easy access into our bags and then to any other place - city, town or country - we got to. As the worldwide problem increases, bedbugs may be found more widely in Greece.

"Nothing to do with cleanliness" - Oh Really?

While the current "comfort" from bedbug "experts" is that the presence of bedbugs has nothing to do with the cleanliness of a given hotel, that's not strictly true. The continued presence of bedbugs definitely has something to do with the responsiveness of a hotel to problems reported by guests, and that's true of luxury hotels, bed and breakfasts, and hostels worldwide. Vigorous on-going cleaning can drive down bedbug populations, even if they may initially stubbornly resist total eradication. And most hotel keepers won't hesitate to use pesticides - even possibly dangerous ones. I'd worry more about a lingering pesticide odor in an enclosed hotel room than I would about potential complications from a bedbug bite.

Are They Reported Honestly in Reviews?

The other problem with bedbugs is that they are a competition-killer - if a "guest" posts a review on a travel site even vaguely suggesting the presence of bedbugs, it is likely to have an impact on bookings which may benefit the hotel across the street ... who may have made the posting in the first place. So take bedbug warnings with a grain of salt.

Hotel Check-in Strategy for Avoiding Bedbugs

Really worried about bedbugs? Your best bet - though it may get a raised eye at check-in - is to state that you are highly allergic to bedbug bites and ask if they are present at the hotel. This will always receive a denial - but if there is a known problem at that hotel, chances are you'll be put in a room where they are believed to be absent.

The Conspiracy Theory

Bedbugs are often said to have been kept in check with the toxic pesticide DDT, which has been cited as one of the major factors in the decline of bird populations worldwide, including the California Condor and many others. Can all this attention be part of an effort to "reclaim" DDT and other pesticides like it for wider use?

Are They Sharing Your Frequent-Flyer Miles Too?

Finding bedbugs in nearly every hotel you stay at around the world? That's a sign that you may need to thoroughly check your own luggage - and do so again in a week or so in case your baggage was contaminated with eggs.

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